How to Care for a Cordyline Dracena Plant

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Red dracaena, corn plant, dragon tree and Ti tree are all common names for Cordyline Dracena, a tropical plant that is a member of the Agavaceae family of plants. While Cordyline is an invasive plant in its native habitats within Australia and southeastern Asia, it makes an attractive houseplant that can grow up to 10 feet tall. Like other tropical houseplants, Cordyline requires proper care to encourage optimal growth and health.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Potting soil
  • Drip tray
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Peat
  • Leaf mold
  • Sand
  • Transplant a new Cordyline plant. Nurseries and florists often use small pots that can bind and choke the root systems. Select a pot that measures one and one-half to two times larger than the current pot. Use one that has several drainage holes along the bottom. Choose a heavy, sturdy pot to help counterbalance the large size of mature Cordylines.

  • Fill the pot half full with a well-drained, loamy potting soil. Remove the plant from its container and gently loosen any lateral roots that curl around the outside of the rootball. Place the rootball in the larger pot. Scoop potting soil around the edges of the rootball, keeping the surface of the surrounding soil level with the surface of the rootball. Tamp the soil with your palm to remove air pockets.

  • Set the pot in a drip tray to catch the excess moisture. Place the Cordyline in a bright location that maintains an even temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Water the plant slowly until droplets begin to appear in the drip tray. Check the moisture level in the pot every few days by pressing the tip of your finger beneath the surface soil. The soil about 1/2-inch below the surface should feel slightly damp and cool to the touch at all times.

  • Mist the leaves once or twice each week, especially in arid climates and homes with dry atmospheres. Spritz lightly to create a fine mist over the surface of the leaves.

  • Fertilize the Cordyline plant by removing about 1/2 inch of the topsoil every March. Replace the removed soil with an equal amount of rich potting soil that contains equal amounts of peat, leaf mold and sand. The nutrients will slowly seep into the underlying soil, feeding the roots and nourishing the plant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Turn your plant every couple of weeks to encourage even growth and color.
  • Don't place this plant next to a heater duct or other source of dry heat that may dehydrate the leaves.

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